What's Up With Apple: Apple Tops Samsung, Another Complaint in France, iOS Security Patch

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Analysts at Taiwan-based TrendForce said Tuesday that global smartphone production reached 364 million units in the fourth quarter of 2020. Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) was the leader, with iPhone production totaling 77.6 million units (21.3% of worldwide production). Of Apple’s total, 90% were iPhone 12 models (nearly 70 million units).

Samsung shipped 67 million units in the quarter, a sequential decline of 14%, compared to Apple’s sequential increase of 85%. TrendForce analysts noted that Samsung’s fourth-quarter performance “was [negatively] affected by the competition for the new iPhone devices.”

For the current quarter, TrendForce sees an overall sequential decline in global production of around 6% to 342 million units. That’s still a 25% jump compared to the first quarter of 2020. Historically, the sequential drop is around 20%, and the analysts project iPhone production of some 54 million units, while Samsung production will reach 62 million units following the release of the new Galaxy S21 flagship phone.

For the full year, TrendForce is forecasting that global smartphone production will reach 1.36 billion units, an increase of 9% over total 2020 production. Samsung is tabbed to lead in annual production, but TrendForce did not provide an estimate of production by brand. The analysts also noted that holding on to its top ranking “will be increasingly challenging for Samsung as it has been losing market share to several Chinese brands that have risen rapidly over these past few years.”

Apple faces another complaint, this one from a France-based lobbying group that represents European startups and venture capital firms, alleging that Apple’s own advertising system does not seek permission from its own users to serve them with personally targeted ads. According to a report from Bloomberg, the complaint lodged by France Digitale claims that “an Apple feature called Personalized Advertising … shows ads in the App Store, Apple News, and the Stocks app, based on a user’s data” without first obtaining a user’s permission.”

The App Tracking Transparency feature that is being readied for release in the 14.5 upgrade to iOS requires third-party developers to obtain permission from iPhone and iPad users before serving them ads based on personal information. Facebook, in particular, has opposed the new feature.

In a statement, Apple called the complaint “patently false” and continued: “Transparency and control for the user are fundamental pillars of our privacy philosophy, which is why we’ve made App Tracking Transparency equally applicable to all developers including Apple. Privacy is built into the ads we sell on our platform with no tracking.”

Finally, Apple on Monday released a security update to its current iOS operating system. The update, numbered 14.4.1, addresses a “memory corruption issue … with improved validation.” The fix is intended to prevent “arbitrary code execution” that may result from the device being infected by malware.

Similar patches also are available for MacOS, watchOS and the Safari browser.

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